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Funeral of South Tyneside skydiver to take place

Credit: family photo

The funeral of Pamela Gower, who died following a skydive in Shotton earlier this month, will take place this morning.

Pamela, from Hebburn, South Tyneside, was found on a road close to the airfield at Shotton Colliery, where her plane had taken off. The funeral service will be held at South Shields Crematorium.

In a statement Pamela's parents, Catherine and Len, said Pamela was a 'determined, independent woman.'

Pamela was a great girl who was loved by her family so much and was a wonderful daughter and sister. Pamela was a very determined and independent woman who let nothing get in her way and we feel this photograph of her next to the Taj Mahal is a perfect example of this.

Our mam always told Pamela how proud she was of her, as was the rest of our family. We will remember how she always saw the funny side of things, just like her ‘Da’.

– The parents of Pamela Gower


Josef Craig wins bronze at Rio

Josef Craig wins bronze in Rio Credit: PA

Jarrow Paralympian Josef Craig has won a bronze in the men’s 100m freestyle S8 final.

The 19-year-old touched in 58.19 seconds behind Chinese champion Wang Yinan while teammate Oliver Hynd was fourth in 58.85.

Josef, who swims for the City of Sunderland, was reclassified from the S7 class to S8 after turning 18.

Police confirm identity of skydive death woman

The site in Shotton where Pamela Gower landed.

Durham Police have now confirmed the identity of a woman who died when her parachute failed to open properly during a skydive.

Pamela Gower was 49 years old and from Hebburn, in South Tyneside.

She was found in a housing estate in Shotton Colliery where she had landed on a car.

Ms Gower was airlifted to the James Cook Memorial Hospital in Middlesbrough where she died yesterday evening.

The police said the coroner had been informed and a post mortem examination would be carried out in due course.

A spokesman said: "Our thoughts are with Miss Gower’s family at this difficult time."


Warning of the dangers of hay fires

Police have issued a warning to teenagers after a 'substantial amount of damage' was caused by hay bales being set fire to in Sunderland and on South Tyneside.

"Youths may think it is a bit of fun to set fire to hay and start fires in fields however I want to warn them that what they are doing is incredibly dangerous and the consequences could be far reaching. We know fire is dangerous and it does not take much for a hay fire to spread with the potential to not just cause substantial damage but seriously injure or even kill someone.

"If that happens those who are responsible will face serious consequences. We believe those who are responsible are young children and would ask their parents make sure they are aware of the risk involved in setting fires and know where they are and what they are doing when they are out playing."

– Acting Neighbourhood Inspector Julie Beattie

Man arrested in South Shields incident

Residents evacuated from their homes in South Shields after a suspicious item was found have been allowed to return to their homes and a man has been arrested in connection with the incident.

Early this morning officers attended the address in Lake Avenue after concern was raised about suspicious items.

Throughout the day, thorough searches by specially trained officers have been carried out at the property.

They carried out a controlled disruption an item that they discovered was not an explosive device.

The cordon that was in place has now been lifted.

Earlier this evening a 38-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident. He remains in custody and enquiries are continuing.

Superintendent Brad Howe said:

"First of all I would like to thank local residents for their patience during this incident, I know there has been a lot of disruption for them and I would like to assure them we did not do this without giving a great deal of thought to the impact this would have on them.

We have been working closely with our colleagues at South Tyneside Council to try and keep this disruption minimal and to make sure there was support for residents who were directly affected by this.

While initially it appeared there may have been suspected improvised explosive devices in the premises this has proved not to be the case and devices of this nature were not found. Other items were seized which included what is believed to be a homemade taser.”

– Superintendent Brad Howe, Northumbria Police

Update: South Shields residents may be allowed back into homes tonight

Northumbria Police say residents may be able to return to their homes after properties were evacuated following today's bomb disposal operation.

A cordon remains in place at the scene in South Shields as police continue to carry out searches.

Officers arrived at 4am this morning following reports of a number of suspicious items.

Searches have been carried out during the day and are set to continue.

A number of residents have been evacuated from their homes and while they may be able to be back in their homes later tonight they are being advised to make alternative arrangements for overnight accommodation.

Superintendent Brad Howe said:

"Our utmost priority is public safety and ensuring there is as little disruption to residents as is possible.

I understand people will be frustrated about this and I do appreciate that many people were disrupted early this morning, I would like to stress that we are doing everything we can to get them back home as soon as possible but at the same time I want to make sure our searches are complete to reduce the chance of having to possibly disrupt them later in the evening.

We are working closely with South Tyneside Council and will have officers in the area to offer reassurance to residents and assist them. If anyone is able to make alternative arrangements for overnight accommodation, then I would urge them to do so."

– Superintendent Brad Howe, Northumbria Police
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